ANTIGONISH: The date has officially been set for the opening of St. Francis Xavier University’s new $50 million, 95,000 square foot institute celebrating former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Mulroney, who was a graduate of the class of 1959 and went on to become the 18th prime minister of Canada, will have the building bearing his name open on campus on September 18. The doors to Mulroney Hall, which will be the new home to the campus’ main classrooms, will officially open nearly two-years to the day from the official ground breaking.
“Construction is proceeding along well at this point in time, it’s all fully enclosed and they’re working on different various components on the inside now, the plan is to have the construction complete by June,” Andrew Beckett, vice president of finance and administration and head of student services, told The Reporter last week. “So, [then] we’ll be moving people into the offices in that building and also [Nicholson] Tower, and then it will be operational for students in September.”
Mulroney Hall is part of a larger project, the Xaverian Commons, a $100 million project thatwas heralded as the most transformational in StFX’s history. Of the $100 million, $50 million went towards the construction of Mulroney Hall; $10 million is going towards student scholarships and bursaries, while $10 million will create at least six new endowed chairs.
“Mulroney Hall [will be] our main classroom area on campus, it has 60 classrooms that range in size from 20 to 300, plus it houses the Institute of Government,” Beckett said in speaking of the campus’ newest building. “It will transform the student experience at StFX as well as positively impact the surrounding region.”
EllisDon Construction and Building Services was awarded the job for the design and construction of Mulroney Hall, as it replaces the dated Nicholson Hall with the modern learning space on the upper campus.
The highlight of Mulroney Hall will be the addition of the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government, which is a centre for undergraduate teaching and research in the field of public policy and governance.
“There’s a new academic program associated with it, a public policy of governance program that we’re certainly hoping is going to attract a number of students,” Beckett said in speaking on what the Institute of Government will bring to the campus. “It’s sort of a blending together of a number of disciplines to prepare students for future roles in public service.”
The institute will also highlight memorabilia from the former Prime Minister, right from his time at StFX to his time in the Prime Minister’s Office, and will feature a re-creation of his office in Ottawa, where he served as a Progressive Conservative Prime Minister from 1984 – 1993. The historic material will include the desk of first Canadian Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, a gift Mulroney received from the party.